Do you have questions about the beliefs of the Church of England?
Here is some basic information that will help you understand what the Church of England – often called the Anglican Church – believes.
If you’d like to know more, any member of our Parish Leadership Team would be delighted to have a chat over a coffee, or simply come along to our services and get to know us!
What stands at the centre of the Anglican faith?
Belief in One God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is at the heart of our faith.
- Anglicans believe that God the Father creates everything that is.
- We believe that Jesus is God’s Son. We look to Jesus to be our Teacher, our Priest, and our King.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit makes God available to us in our everyday lives.
What are the core beliefs of the Church of England?
The core beliefs of the Church of England are found in the Nicene Creed – an ancient summary of the Christian faith. Here is what is says:
We believe in God the Father
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in God the Son
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The most important decision any person can ever make is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is the best thing anyone can do.
– Archbishop Justin Welby
What does the Church of England believe about the Bible?
Anglicans believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God.
We believe also that the Bible contains all Christian teachings ‘necessary for salvation’. What this means is that the Church of England points us to the Bible as the measure of faithful Christian belief and life.
Among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are found all matters that concern faith and the Christian life.Saint Augustine of Hippo, AD 397
What does the Church of England believe about Holy Baptism?
As Anglicans, we believe that the sacraments are, as Saint Augustine put it, outward and visible signs of inward and invisible grace. The sacraments are ‘means of grace’, or vehicles (we might say) of God’s blessing.
In Holy Baptism, the outward visible sign is water, and the inward invisible grace is ‘birth’ into new life in Christ. In order to be baptized, an adult ought to repent of their sins and also place their faith in Christ and give their life to him.
Following the ancient practice of the Church, Anglicans baptize infants whose parents and godparent profess repentance and faith on their children’s behalf and who promise to bring up their children in the Christian faith.
What does the Church of England believe about Holy Communion?
The Sacrament of Holy Communion (sometimes called the Eucharist) looks both backwards and forwards. At Holy Communion, we look back to the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross, and we look forward to the heavenly banquet.
As we celebrate Holy Communion, we praise and thank God, we offer ourselves to him, and we plead before the Father the sacrifice of the Cross for the forgiveness of sins.
Outwardly, Holy Communion takes the form of a shared meal of bread and wine. Inwardly, Christ feeds his faithful people with his Body and Blood – that is, with his whole person and life – and so strengthens and refreshes our souls.
What does the Church of England believe its mission is?
As Anglicans, we believe that the mission of the Church is the mission of Christ.
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth
The first of these marks of mission – personal evangelism – is a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus’ own summary of his mission. For this reason, it is the key statement about everything we do in mission.
What does the Church of England believe about worship and prayer?
Being a Christian means responding to Jesus’ invitation to enjoy a relationship with God on earth and for eternity.
As Anglicans, we believe the purpose of our lives is to praise God, since praising God catches us up into the life of heaven.
Prayer and Bible reading nourish our souls seven days per week. In prayer we bring to God the needs of the world and our own needs, we ask God for forgiveness and seek his guidance, we lament the sadnesses of life and rejoice in its blessings.
The Church gathers together primarily for worship. Especially on Sundays, Anglicans gather in church to celebrate all that God is and all that God has done, and to sing God’s praises. We listen to God’s words in Scripture and we gather around the Lord’s table at the Eucharist.